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First time school visits

Escorting pupils during excursions from school is one of the most exacting assignments even for highly experienced teachers. There are many ways to make sure the experience is trouble free and worthwhile. Ted Wragg gives his general tips here; more advice for particular types of trips appear on following pages.

* Case the joint: if at all possible visit the location yourself first; if not, look up its website, read the pamphlets, consult a map, check the opening and closing times and other details.

* Make sure children know why the visit is taking place: trips that appar pointless irritate them and are often a waste of time.

* Preparation and follow-up work is essential: the visit itself is the filling in the sandwich.

* Keep parents in the picture: they need to know lots of detail about the event, such as timings, cost, suitable clothing, food, safety, its purpose.

* Supervision has to be impeccable: you must fulfil the legally required duty of care, acting as a careful parent would, and the recquisite higher duty of care when escorting children who are vulnerable, such as the very young or those with special needs.

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